How has technology influenced art?

Posted by Robert Lange on

In the past years, technology has visibly influenced art on many levels, sparking excitement and controversy among artists. In this article, we'd like to share with you different perspectives on how technology has impacted the art world and whether that's good or not. After all, art and technology relationship isn't all about AI (although it may be hard to believe nowadays!).

Table of Contents

How Does Technology Influence Art?

Technology doesn't only take from the art world – it can also give. In many instances, it enhances the viewer's experience, and not only that – the artists' journey is also more varied and full of possibilities. All because of technology!

So, what do we gain from it?

New Mediums and Techniques

  • Artists have embraced digital tools to create innovative pieces that blend traditional techniques with modern technology, such as graphics tablets or iPads. 
  • Sculptors like Anish Kapoor use 3D printing to realize complex forms that would be challenging to achieve through traditional methods.

Accessibility and Democratization

  • Platforms like Instagram and DeviantArt allow artists to share their work with a global audience, democratizing access to art and enabling wider recognition.
  • Online tutorials and courses have made learning art more accessible to people who might not have access to formal education.

Interactivity and Immersion

  • Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) allow experimenting to create immersive experiences that engage viewers in entirely new ways.
  • Artists like Rafael Lozano-Hemmer use technology to create interactive installations that respond to viewers' presence and actions.

AI Usage

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a significant and controversial influence in the art world. Here are some perspectives from artists on how AI is impacting art – the negative parts will be covered in a bit.

  • Some artists collaborate with AI to generate artworks, viewing AI as a creative partner rather than a mere tool.
  •  AI can assist in brainstorming and generating ideas, helping artists overcome creative blocks and explore new directions.
  • Another one is customization. AI can help create personalized art experiences, tailoring content to individual preferences and enhancing engagement.

 

how has technology influenced art

 

Art And Technology. Controversial and Negative Aspects

We aim to show you more than one perspective; that's why this article also teaches you how technology has influenced art—in some negative ways, too.

Loss of Traditional Skills

  • Some artists argue that the reliance on digital tools may lead to a decline in traditional skills such as drawing and painting.
  • They worry that the fundamental techniques of art could be lost or devalued.

Over-reliance on Technology

  • Art world's fascination with technology might overshadow the message or emotional impact of the artwork.
  • Critics argue that art should focus on expression and meaning rather than technological prowess.

Commercialization

  • Technology has made it easier to reproduce artworks, raising concerns about originality and authenticity.
  • Even the rise of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) has further complicated debates around ownership and value in digital art.

AI (again!)

  • The use of AI raises questions about who the true author of an artwork is. If an AI creates a piece, should the credit go to the machine, the programmer, or the artist who directed it?
  • There is a completely understandable and reasonable concern that AI-generated art may lead to homogenization, where artworks start to look similar due to reliance on the same algorithms and datasets.
  • Some fear that AI could replace human artists, leading to job loss and devaluation of human creativity.
  • AI systems don't really… think. They often perpetuate biases present in their training data, leading to issues of representation and fairness in the artworks they produce.
  • Artists may become dependent on AI tools, potentially stifling their own creative processes!

Artists' Voices

Let's hear from the artists themselves: how does technology influence art every day? What makes an artwork… an artwork?

David Hockney

"I draw flowers every day on my iPhone and send them to my friends, so they get fresh flowers every morning."

Hockney's embrace of digital tools exemplifies how technology can be integrated into an artist's practice without losing the essence of their creativity – and that may be the spirit.

Marina Abramović

 "I believe that the future of art is about creating new experiences and new forms of interaction with the audience. Technology allows us to push these boundaries."

The artist highlights the potential for technology to create deeper connections between art and audience – so maybe it's not that bad? 

Banksy

"The art world is the biggest joke going... It’s a rest home for the overprivileged, the pretentious, and the weak."

Banksy's critique reflects a broader skepticism about the commercialization and elitism in the art world, which can be exacerbated by technological trends.

Mario Klingemann

"Working with AI is like working with a pencil; it's just a tool. The art happens in the mind of the artist."

Klingemann views AI as an extension of traditional tools, emphasizing the artist's role in directing the creative process – it's important to remember, however, where the AI knowledge comes from. 

Trevor Paglen

"AI systems are not neutral... they are shaped by the data they are trained on, which reflects human biases and inequalities."

The ethical concerns surrounding AI are not to be downplayed. Paglen emphasizes the need for critical awareness of its biases and impacts.

What's The Conclusion?

The influence of technology on art isn't as simple as some would like it to be. It's neither a good nor a bad influence. Technology certainly offers new possibilities and challenges. Artists' perspectives vary widely, from enthusiastic adoption to cautious skepticism. Ultimately, technology integration in art is inevitable—but what you, an artist or an art lover, will do with it is entirely up to you.

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